Natural vitamins and minerals complex Alfalfa (Lucerne) - Clinical Trials
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Alfalfa (Lucerne) Clinical Trials:
Fifteen patients with hyperlipoproteinemia (HLP), types IIA (n = 8), IIB (n = 3) and IV (n = 4) were given 40 g of heat prepared alfalfa seeds 3 times daily at mealtimes for 8 weeks with otherwise unchanged diet. In patients with type II HLP alfalfa treatment caused after 8 weeks a maximal lowering of pretreatment median values of total plasma cholesterol from 9.58 to 8.00 mmol/l (P less than 0.001) and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol from 7.69 to 6.33 mmol/l (P less than 0.01), which corresponds to decreases of 17% and 18%, respectively. (6)
Alfalfa (Lucerne) (Medicago sativa) is a leguminous plant with high contents of phytoestrogen and saponin which are both useful in preventing cardiovascular disorders. This study was designed to evaluate the preventive effect of dietary alfalfa on the development and the progression of atherosclerosis in hyperlipidemic rabbits.
Twenty male rabbits were obtained and kept under standard conditions. After 2 weeks of accommodation to the new place, the animals were semi-randomly distributed into four groups of five each. Animals in Group 1 received basic diet and the ones in Group 2 received the same diet to which 1% cholesterol was added. Groups 3 and 4 received similar diets as Groups 1 and 2 respectively, but supplemented with alfalfa. Each of the four groups was fed with its respected diet for a period of 12 weeks. Fasting blood samples were collected from all animals at the beginning and at the end of the study and blood factors were measured. At the end of the study samples from the right and the left coronary arteries as well as the aorta were collected from all animals for pathological evaluations.
Though dietary alfalfa decreased total cholesterol, LDL and triglyceride and this effect was not significant, but dietary alfalfa significantly increased HDL.
The formation of fatty streaks in the aorta, the right and the left coronary arteries were significantly reduced under the influence of dietary alfalfa. (7)
The in vitro interactions of saponins from alfalfa plant and alfalfa sprouts with cholesterol and the effects of alfalfa plant and sprout and saponin-free alfalfa plant on diet-induced liver cholesterol accumulation, bile acid excretion, and jejunal and colonic morphology were examined. Cholesterol-saponin interactions have been suggested as mechanisms for the observed hypocholesterolemic effects of alfalfa. Alfalfa plant saponins bound significant quantities of cholesterol both from ethanol solution and from micellar suspension. Alfalfa sprout saponins interacted with cholesterol to a lesser but significant extent. Bile acid adsorption was greatest for alfalfa plant and was not reduced by removal of saponins from the plant material.
Saponin-cholesterol interaction is an important part of the hypocholesterolemic action of alfalfa but interaction of bile acids with other components of alfalfa may be of equal importance. (8)
The diets fed to the prairie dogs for eight weeks contained alfalfa plus corn in fixed proportions of 50:50, 85:15 and 15:85 (w/w). At sacrifice, all animals were healthy but had not gained weight; no deaths occurred during the experiment. Cholesterol gallstones were present in all groups. In the absence of exogenous cholesterol, the highest stone incidence was found in the animals which received the lowest fiber (highest corn) diets (alfalfa plus corn, 50:50, 67%; alfalfa plus corn, 15:85, 83%). Cholesterol gallstone incidence was 100% when exogenous cholesterol was added to the alfalfa plus corn diets (50:50 and 15:85).
Liver and plasma cholesterol concentrations were highest in the animals receiving alfalfa plus corn (15:85) plus 0.4% cholesterol (4.29 mg/g, and 356 mg/dl, respectively). These values were lowest in animals receiving 85% alfalfa plus 15% corn without cholesterol (2.19 mg/g and 88 mg/dl, respectively).
Thus, gallstones can be formed in prairie dogs in the absence of exogenous cholesterol; gallstone incidence is reduced by dietary fiber. (9)